Cat People! Over Here!

I’m thinking of getting a cat when I move to my own abode at the end of the month. I’ve never had a cat before, though, so I don’t know what kind to get. It:

(a) must be short-haired;
(b) must be good-tempered;
© must be affectionate – well, you know, for a cat.

Any suggestions? I saw one once I thought was beautiful, it was a really deep blue short-hair, but I don’t know the breed. Is that ringing any bells with anyone?

I don’t insist on a particular breed and, let’s face it, will probably just check out what they have at the animal shelter anyway, so maybe it would be more helpful if you could tell me what kind of cat not to get, and why. Gracias.

I have a Cornish Rex. He resembles Mr. Bigglesworth from Austin Powers but he actually has short, wavy hair. I have a roommate who is extremely allergic to dander and does not have a problem with him. This breed will always act like a kitten and tends to be very loving. Although, affection is something that you control by the amount of time you spend with your cat.


Move over Satan. :wink: Now there’s something meatier.

Females cats seem nicer to me–not as domineering.


I think we’ve been moved to a different server in a different time zone. Everything posted in that apparent overlapping hour is gone. Unless you trick the server. See the examples below and if you can find a thread that is just missing a few posts all you have to to is replace “alpha’dot’chireader’dot’com” in the url with “www’dot’straightdope’dot’com”

Did that make any sense?

“The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.” - Humphrey Bogart

Except now I have replied in a topic I have never been in. WTF?

The cat you mentioned was probably a Russian Blue. I prefer owning female cats as well; no spraying. The longhaired cats I have taken care of have been rather stupid and got horrible matts in their hair (and didn’t like being brushed).

Pick a cat/kitten from the shelter that seems outgoing, affectionate and playful, and it’ll probably have the same personality as an adult.

“Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting.”

  • Bertrand Russell

Well, Uncle, it is (a) great to know what happened, and (b) useful to know your opinion about cats! :slight_smile:

Jodi, I had a Russian blue (which it sounds like you’re describing) about 28 years ago, and he was very standoffish and unaffectionate, and just a tad mean. Until we moved and had to defelinize the household, we’ve consistently had one or more cats, and found that the best pets are a cross of standard American shorthair and Siamese, very affectionate and loyal but not overpushy and with enough independence that you can leave them alone (with necessities provided, of course) for a couple of days without feeling guilty about “deserting them” as with an animal that has bonded more thoroughly to you. In addition, if the line the cat is from is backcrossed more than once to a Siamese line or lines, you get some beautiful colorpoint patterns. We had one creamy-yellow tiger (from the American shorthair) with deep-gold points (his Siamese ancestry). Butterscotch was not only a gorgeous tomcat but one of the most personable cats I’ve ever met as well. I’ve never known an Abysinnian cat personally but understand that the personality is much the same.

I’ve had cats my whole life. I’ve had a couple of Siamese cats - both female - and one was wonderful and the other was fairly stupid. They were both very very affectionate, though. Nice cuddly things. One nice thing about siameses is that they fetch like a dog - throw a crumpled up piece of paper and they’ll bring it back to you. The bad thing about a Siamese is that they’re loud, and they like to be loud at 3am.

I currently have a male orange tabby, and he’s wonderful, too. Never had a problem with spraying, and he’s affectionate although not as affectionate as the Siameses were. He’s neutered. He’s really smart, too.

I recently was adopted by a long haired grey cat. I think she might be a ragdoll. She just came in the cat door one day and stayed. She’s extremely beautiful, very affectionate, and has pretty much stolen my heart. I’m keeping her even though the last thing I need right now is another cat.

All of my cats have been mutts. I have 2 now: Squeaky, a long haired mutt, and Orion, a short haired mutt.

I found Squeaky on my lawn when he was a teeny tiny baby. I called him Squeaky because he cried constantly, and he was so tiny and sick that I was sure he wasn’t going to live long anyway, so it wouldn’t matter what dumb thing I called him. Eight years later, he’s a gorgeous umpteen pound monster cat (might be part Maine Coon) and I do occasionally regret the name, but he responds to it so I’m not changing it.

A co-worker gave me Orion. She had a friend who had a cat with four kittens. The friend moved and took mama with her, but left the kittens to fend for themselves in the abandoned house. My co-worker rescued three of the kittens (the fourth was too feral and she couldn’t catch it), kept 2 for herself and gave me one. Orion is shorthaired, 18 mos. old, and very, very sweet and lovey. We had him fixed when he was quite young, so he never developed any territorial or aggressive behaviors. He has never sprayed or anything gross like that.

My advice would be to go to a shelter and find a shorthaired lovey kitty that needs a home. I read Cat Fancy magazine and ooh and ah over the pure breds, but I’d never trade in my mutts.

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

Keep in mind, your new cat doesn’t have to be a kitten! Many shelters (like the one I volunteer in) have really sweet, loving adult cats (just a year +, not necessarily geriatric) that get passed up in favor of kittens.

I have to second Gaudere’s comment about assessing the new pet’s character before adopting…most shelters here have areas where you can play with and get to know a prospective pet before adopting.

As a confirmed cat-lover, I have to agree with those who say go to the shelter/pound and rescue a kitten/cat from jail. The last time I went I wanted to take them all, but could only pick one. The great thing about a cat is each one has such a unique personality. As long as you get one that hasn’t had a fear of humans forced upon it by neglect, abuse, or feral living, you should be okay. It will be a great companion.

well I have 5 cats all strays that I started to feed cause I felt so bad for them and they inherited homes. one is long hair and the others are short hair. and thay all have such unique personalities. I wouldnt trade them for the world. My baby of the bunch I got from a lady that saved cats from the pound. he was going to be put to sleep that day. and she took him home and put ads in the paper for free kittens. thats how I found him. and not to pick favorites but he is the most interesting cat around. so my suggestion go to a pound or animal shelter and save the poor babies. The ones that are going to be put to sleep.

Would you consider getting two cats? When I adopted I got two brother kittens. They were never lonely and were very nice to each other. The washed each other’s faces all the time and it melted my heart.

One book I read said if you adopt kittens, you should adopt non-siblings, otherwize they will stay so attached to each other they won’t get attached to humans. It wasn’t true with my pair, and I would never separate a litter if I didn’t have to (of course, you almost always have to, since not many people can handle 4-6 kittens!)

I’d stay away from purebreds if I were you. They’re expensive, and many are the product of generation after generation of inbreeding, so they tend to not be as healthy. This is a much bigger problem with dogs, but it isn’t absent in cats, either. Go find someone giving away free kittens, or adopt one from an animal shelter. They’re just as likeable and intelligent and sweet as any purebred, with none of the disadvantages. The only drawback is that you can’t be smug around other cat owners.

Modest? You bet I’m modest! I am the queen of modesty!


One thing to keep in mind is that within each breed is a spectrum of personality. It does indeed sound like you’re describing a Russian Blue–one person described the one they’d had as less than ideal as a pet, yet the two my b/f had growing up were wonderful.

I’ve had Siamese all my life (until now), and each were distinct–but there are certain standard characteristics. #1, they’re talkative–to downright noisy and annoying. #2, They’re intelligent–which means great trainablity in a dog, but not a Siamese. Instead, their intellect helps them figure out how to get where they shouldn’t–and that when you’re gone, they can pretty much do whatever they want. #3, they can be rather neurotic. This actually depends on type. There are 3: traditional, classic, and modern. Traditional Siamese look like the cat in the original Incredible Journey: stocky, smaller ears, possibly kinked tail and/or crossed eyes, and a round “apple” head. Moderns are freaks–they’re quite lithe, thin-skinned, have enormous bat ears, and a long pointy nose. Classics are the “in-between.” I once read that the Siamese characteristics (described above) intensify with each type, starting at the most mild with the traditional. I’ve had a two traditionals and a classic, and lemme tell you, the classic was a neurotic, mean, moody mess (but I loved her!).

You may want to consider something that is half to a Persian or Himalayan–one that did not inherit the long fur, but did inherit the mild-to-loving-blob personality.

Some tips when looking for a kitten/cat:
[list=1][li]Do not go for the cute little playful kitten that bats, and kicks, and climbs, and bounces in their cage–unless you want a hyper kitty. It may be cute to watch–but only when it isn’t your cat! What you see at the cage/at the breeder is about 1/10th the magnification of reality! ;)[/li][li]Look for a cat you can cradle upside down–and observe how it reacts. Does it grow tense? Does is scramble? Or does it jsut relax and stretch out accordian-style? (This is what Inigo did–he’s a mellow, loving kitty!)[/li][li]Does the kitten/cat ever purr when you hold it?[/li][li]Touch/hold the cat’s tail and back of the hind feet–this is their ticklish spots, and a mild kitty (such as Inigo) will only try and get loose; a more cranky kitty (such as Lady, the classic Siamese) might turn around and try to bite you.[/list=1][/li]
Wowzers, hope that wasn’t too much reading, there! Good luck to you and your cat!


I used to think the world was against me. Now I know better. Some of the smaller countries are neutral.

Dear jodih:
Females usually make the best mousers, although I have a ginger tom that will kill anything smaller than himself.
I wouldn’t worry about an expensive pure-bred cat. I’ve found that alley cats are a lot of fun and loyal (well, as loyal as a cat can be).

Yes, definitely get it from the animal shelter. As for behavior traits, well, in my opinion, you just can’t tell. I got a 1-year-old female from the shelter. When they took her out of the cage the first time and let me hold her, I could tell she was depressed - head down, no meowing, curled up in a ball - my heart went out to her and I knew I had to save her - all black, named her Kali. That was 3 years ago; she’s still a bit timid - won’t even let me pick her up. She didn’t appear to have been abused, and was in good health, so I figure the animal shelter experience was traumatic for her. But she’s come a long way - she gets in bed with me and just flops down against me wanting affection. 6 months later I got a kitten - she’s now 14 months old - very active, playful, curious, into everything and I love her, but she doesn’t curl up against me, and doesn’t even seem to need much affection. Bottom line: you just don’t know about the personality til you live with 'em.

Go to an animal shelter and pick the one who loves you the most. But beware some of the cats have pity smiles that sucker you in. :slight_smile:

I would have to agree - adopt a mutt. I have two cats and both were abandoned as kittens. Found Chrystal in a cardboard box in a field next to a busy road. Godzilla appeared in my driveway about a month ago. I also have two dogs (one is a VERY big mixed breed(Larry) and the other a German Shepherd (Samantha)). Both dogs are seniors now (12 and 11 respectively - which is old for large dogs).

Chrystal is now 7 years old. She’s more affectionate now than when she was younger. Even Larry is treated to a purr and a rub whenever she comes in the house.

I’d guess that Godzilla is about 3 months old. Being so young she’s “very busy” - we’re used to older pets that lounge around 95% of the time. For a kitten I’d say she is affectionate - when it suits her (very busy you know). Naps must be taken on a human lap (mine or my husbands). She loves to “stock” Chrystal - which doesn’t go over too well but is quite amusing.

To make a long story short. As cats get older they tend to become more affectionate. It takes time to get to know their personalities but each is unique and are a joy.

Jodih, I am looking to be aqquired by a cat myself, let us know what you end up doing? I’m not hijacking this thread or anything, but I have a related quesion. I was also considering going to the pound first to get my cat, then a friend told me that a friend of a friend did that and ended up adopting a cat that hadn’t been reared by its mother, so it was really difficult to house train. My question is, have any of you heard of this? I always thought that cats just “were” clean, but I guess that was a bit of a dumb assumption.

It only hurts when I laugh.